$50 mil shipyard project hits Port of L.A. roadblock
It's become perhaps the most contentious business proposition to rock San Pedro Bay in decades.
For nearly two years, Gambol Marine Industries has been trying to build a $50 million shipyard on 25 acres of Terminal Island, promising thousands of jobs, agreeing to local hiring practices and reviving a once-thriving industry that largely died with the Navy's departure from town several years ago.
Port authorities, who own the 25-acre parcel the shipbuilders need and which contains the West Coast's last elongated deepwater slips - critical for such a project - say they want instead to use the site as a dump site for toxic sediments pulled from the harbor floor.
Without those slips, port authorities contend, years of environmental work and negotiations to locate a suitable site for the sludge, which requires careful disposal under state and federal laws, would be upended.
Encouraged by what they see as a huge business opportunity, Gambol has enlisted several powerful allies in their bid for the project, including the Los Angeles Conservancy, Los Angeles Councilwoman Janice Hahn, D-San Pedro, and a number of local steelworker, engineering and mariner unions.
But the plan has hit roadblocks almost from the beginning, led by Port of Los Angeles officials, who contend the project would indefinitely hamper a long-planned channel deepening project designed to accommodate a new generation of ships calling at the port's inner harbor, where port and state officials have pledged some $370 million in modernization redevelopment.
These projects, several years in the making, are expected to support some 19,000 jobs both directly and indirectly.
Freight giant FedEx Corp. announced on Friday that as of January 3, 2011, it will raise increase its shipping rates for its ground and home delivery services by a net average of 4.9 percent.
The Memphis-based shipping company said the deliveries' full average rate increase was 5.9 percent, which will be partly offset by adjusting the fuel price threshold to reduce the fuel surcharge by one percentage point.
The company said its SmartPost rates will also change.
Shanghai index’s rise includes Dalian port and PetroChina
The Shanghai Composite Index, which tracks the bigger of China’s stock exchanges, rose 14.75, or 0.5 percent, to 2,857.18 at the 3 p.m. close. The CSI 300 Index gained 0.2 percent to 3,165.57.
Dalian Port Co. (601880 CH), a port operator, surged 38 percent from its offer price to 5.24 yuan on the first day of trading in Shanghai. The company raised 2.9 billion yuan in its first-time domestic stock sales.
PetroChina Co. (601857 CH), the nation’s biggest oil company, jumped 4.7 percent to 11.77 yuan, the biggest gain since Nov. 11. PetroChina is the top recommendation among Chinese oil stocks because its natural gas business may spur growth and the stock is cheaper than rival Cnooc Ltd., BNP Paribas analyst Bradley Way wrote in a note today. China’s top planning body may encourage PetroChina to supply natural gas to the northeast region by raising prices, it said. PetroChina spokesman Mao Zefeng declined to comment.
Disabled freighter being towed to Dutch Harbor, Alaska
A cargo ship that broke down in Alaska's Aleutian Islands while carrying canola seeds and nearly a half-million gallons of fuel oil continued its slow journey to a safe harbor Sunday as a tug boat pulled it through rough seas and up to 25-foot waves.
The 738-foot Golden Seas with 20 crew members aboard was expected to reach Dutch Harbor, 275 miles away, sometime Tuesday.
Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer Dana Warr said the tug boat ciiiaptain decided to take a longer route south of the island chain where seas were somewhat less rough. The course change was expected to add about 20 to 30 hours to the trip.
The 18,000-horsepower Tor Viking II began its tow of the cargo ship late Saturday, a few hours after they rendezvoused in the Bering Sea, about 45 miles north of Atka Island.
Warr said Sunday evening the vessels were dealing with waves between 20 and 25 feet, despite predictions that the rough seas would abate.
Singapore's Neptune Orient Lines the world's sixth-largest container shipping firm, carried six percent more containers in the four weeks to Nov. 12 compared with a year ago.
NOL said in a statement it shipped the equivalent of 220,800 40-foot containers (FEU) on its vessels in the period, up from 208,000 a year earlier, due mainly to higher volumes carried on the intra-Asia and Asia-Europe trade lanes.
The average revenue in the period from each container was $2,797, up 25 percent from the year ago period.
S. Korea won't budge on beef import limits from U.S.
South Korean Trade Minister Kim Jong Hoon ruled out holding talks on scrapping age limits on U.S. beef imports, which were not adjusted in a revised free trade agreement announced earlier this month.
The U.S. and South Korea on Dec. 3 agreed to change provisions in the trade deal, which had been stalled by legislators since it was signed in 2007 over U.S. demands for improved access for its cars and beef. While the revised agreement included scaling back initial tariff cuts for vehicles by both countries, U.S. beef wasn’t covered.
South Korea restricted beef imports in 2003 when the U.S. discovered its first case of mad cow disease. After resuming purchases in 2008, the government restricted shipments to those from cows aged younger than 30 months.
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, a Montana Democrat who demanded that South Korea drop restrictions on U.S. beef imports from older cattle, said last week he was unhappy with the revised trade agreement.
American beef producers lobbied to get the original deal completed quickly to gain an advantage over competitors in Australia because the accord reduced the 40 percent tariff levied by South Korea. Once the deal is in force, U.S. pork and beef exports to South Korea might increase by $2 billion a year, the American Meat Institute estimates.
Port of Grays Harbor's export volume up 84 percent
The Port of Grays Harbor, Wash. announced its export trade volume is up 84 percent over 2009, totaling over 1.65 million metric tons of cargo loaded on an estimated 100 vessels by the end of 2010.
But what exactly is driving this historical growth? Diverse cargo exports.
The port cited its partnerships with customers like Ag Processing, Inc., which shipped over one million metrics tons of cargo through its facility at the port’s Terminal 2, and over 21,000 autos exported through the Pasha Automotive Services complex at Terminal 4.
The terminal 1 liquid bulk terminal was also expanded with help from state funds for shipper Westway & Imperium, from just handling barges, to a Panamax-capable operation, the port said.
The port also pointed to its $15 million marine terminal rail system upgrade as another opportunity for cargo capacity enhancement for its customers.
Ship-to-ship oil transfer causes tanker to overturn
KOTA TINGGI: An oil tanker is believed to have overturned off Pengerang near here due to instability when its crewmen were transferring the vessel’s oil cargo to another ship.
However, the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (APMM), Marine Department and the Department of Environment (DOE) have not detected any oil spill in the area.
There was also no trace of the crewmen, who were believed to have jumped off the tanker into the other ship, which sailed away.
It was learnt the authorities have traced the owner of the tanker, who was expected to do salvage work before the situation worsens.
From the APMM’s initial findings, there were only four men aboard the Singapore-registered tanker when the incident occurred at about 7.30am on Sunday.
The bridge of the Federal Elbe rises five stories above the ship's deck, and there the captain scans the weather forecast for the North Atlantic, his destination when he leaves port.
Down on deck, a gang of Duluth longshoremen is shrouded in grain dust as two spouts gush wheat into the ship's cavernous hold at 2,500 tons per hour. The same sort of thing is happening at two other grain elevators across the bay in Superior, Wis., and three more ships are anchored outside the harbor, waiting their turn.
All is as it should be -- busy -- for a change.
After the two worst grain shipping seasons since Duluth-Superior opened to foreign commerce in 1959, the Twin Ports is enjoying a grain export surge this year, at least bringing business back to respectable levels. The port, the largest on the U.S. side of the Great Lakes, can largely thank its good fortune to a crop disaster in Russia, a major wheat exporter.
Through October, Twin Ports grain shipments bound for overseas markets already were 50 percent higher than they were for all of 2009
A new survey of fleets finds that carriers are shifting to more aggressive equipment acquisition and replacement plans.
That's according to Transport Capital Partners' Business Expectation Survey for the fourth quarter.
Almost 27 percent of carriers plan to replace 11-25 percent of the fleet, compared to 24 percent who planned to do so in the spring. More significantly 13 percent plan to replace 26 percent or more of their fleet compared to only 7 percent last spring. Factors that have contributed to the shift include: an improved profitability outlook, the desire to replace the aging fleet, the lack of used equipment, and the rising value of trade-ins.
While carriers appear ready to replace an aging fleet, they have less appetite to expand their fleet capacity, according to the TCP analysts. Fewer are planning capacity increases than a quarter ago, with 41 percent saying they have no plans to add capacity, up from 34 percent last quarter, while a quarter of the carriers plan to add only 1 to 5 percent.
Southern Cal industrial property demand grows modestly
Southern California’s office market will be depressed as long as unemployment levels remain high, but demand for local industrial buildings is strong and growing modestly, a new report says.
A 17% increase in port traffic over last year will help stabilize –- and in some areas increase –- industrial rents in the region, according to the annual Casden Forecast released Tuesday by the USC Lusk Center for Real Estate.
“The industrial sector is showing stronger signs of recovery across the board,” said Tracey Selsen, a coauthor of the forecast. “The strong Chinese and Indian economies, combined with the weakened U.S. dollar, have increased demand for U.S. manufactured goods and greatly increased port traffic.”
Los Angeles is one of the tightest industrial markets in the country, with a 3.3% vacancy rate. Rents are expected to rise 10.5% in the next two years.
Ivory Coast considered high risk by shipping industry insurance underwriters
London's marine insurance market said on Wednesday it has not changed its risk assessment of Ivory Coast following a disputed election, although it continues to monitor political tensions in the world's top cocoa grower.
An election meant to resolve Ivory Coast's decade-long political crisis has left the west African country with two candidates claiming the presidency, after incumbent Laurent Gbagbo defied international pressure to concede defeat to his rival Alassane Ouattara.
The Lloyd's Market Association (LMA) represents the interests of all underwriting businesses in the Lloyd's market.
The Joint War Committee, which groups syndicate members from the LMA as well as representatives from the London insurance company market, in 2003 added Ivory Coast to a list of areas it considered high risk for merchant vessels and prone to war, strikes, terrorism and related perils.
The London marine insurance market plays an influential role in the global marine insurance industry.
A shipwreck that stranded 14 men on a barren island off Maine 300 years ago will be marked later this month.
A strong winter storm cast the crew of the Nottingham Galley on the rocky shore of Boon Island in December 1710. The crew huddled together under a makeshift tent from one of the ship's sails. There was no firewood and nothing to eat other than some cheese the ship was carrying. The men resorted to seaweed, seagulls, mussels -- and eventually cannibalism.
Ironically, the men could see the distant lights of what is now York six miles away, but couldn't get there. The survivors spent more than three weeks on the rock.
Foster's Daily Democrat says the York Historical Society will commemorate the event Dec. 11. Speakers will read excerpts from Kenneth Robert's novel "Boon Island," a mostly fictional account of the shipwreck.
Florida Republican John Mica will head the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee when the new Congress convenes in January.
The party's selection of Mica, currently the committee's ranking Republican, came as no surprise Wednesday and puts him in a key role. President Barack Obama has said he wants to pass a $50 billion infrastructure-spending bill next year as well as long-term transportation plan, and each measure would likely be crafted by Mica's committee.
The congressman has said he would prioritize passing a multiyear bill to serve as the nation's blueprint for transportation spending. He has also said he wants to pass a long-delayed aviation bill that, among other things, would kick-start plans to modernize the U.S. air-traffic control system.
Mica has supported getting the private sector more involved in public transportation projects as a way to raise more transportation dollars.
Mica, first elected to Congress in 1992, said he would pursue legislation that would address long-needed repairs to the nation's infrastructure and create jobs.
"With limited resources, cutting red tape to complete stalled projects and better utilization of the federal government's assets are top priorities," Mica said in a statement. "Improving our infrastructure will ensure a strong backbone for our economy."
Mica will succeed current Chairman James Oberstar (D., Minn.), who lost a re-election bid last month.
NY Shipping Assoc. files $6 mil lawsuit against ILA
The New York Shipping Association has filed a $6 million federal lawsuit against the International Longshoremen's Association over damages the association says its members incurred as a result of September's strike, according to today's Jersey Journal.
The ILA staged a strike at the Global Terminal which sits on the Jersey City-Bayonne border to protest the Del Monte Company's decision to stop using an ILA port in Camden, reports say. Affected dockworkers from Philadelphia picketed at Global Terminal and local dockworkers honored the picket line despite orders from a federal judge and union leaders who claimed the strike was illegal and should end, reports say.
The NYSA, which represents vessel owners and marine terminal operators doing business in the Port of New York and New Jersey, is the principal negotiator of contracts with the ILA. According to the Journal, the NYSA seeks damages such as lost pay for shipping crews that were stuck in the port and freight truck drivers who were turned away at the gate at Global.
Port of Seattle approves $15 mil for environment, congestion relief in 2011
The Port of Seattle Commission announced it approved $15 million for environmental remediation and congestion relief projects in 2011 as part of a 5-year, $68 million environmental plan.
The commission also approved a $5 million investment in the South Park Bridge replacement, and cinched up an agreement with Puget Sound Energy for easements along the Eastside Rail Corridor, the port said in a press release.
The majority of the funding will go towards cleanup of the Lower Duwamish Waterway Superfund site, the port said.
Update: Ships currently being held by Somali pirate
Somali pirates freed a Saudi-owned tanker Al Nisr al Saudi after receiving an unknown sum in ransom for the ship seized in March, a maritime official said on Wednesday.
Here is a list of ships held by Somali pirates:
* SOCOTRA 1: Seized on Dec. 25, 2009. The Yemeni-owned ship was captured in the Gulf of Aden after it left the port of Alshahr in Yemen.
-- Six Yemeni crew.
* ICEBERG 1: Seized on March 29. Roll-on roll-off vessel taken nautical 10 miles from the port of Aden.
-- 24 crew.
* JIH-CHUN TSAI 68: Seized on March 30: A Taiwan-flagged and owned fishing vessel.
-- 14 crew -- a Taiwanese captain along with two Chinese and 11 Indonesians.
* RAK AFRIKANA: Seized on April 11. The St Vincent and the Grenadines-flagged 7,561-dwt cargo ship was hijacked about 280 miles west of the Seychelles. Owned by Seychelles' Rak Afrikana Shipping Ltd.
* Three Thai fishing vessels -- PRANTALAY 11, 12 and 14 -- were hijacked on April 17-18.
-- 77 crew.
* TAI YUAN 227: Seized on May 6: A Taiwanese fishing boat.
-- 24 crew -- nine Chinese, three Vietnamese, three Filipinos, seven Kenyans and two from Mozambique.
* AL-DHAFIR: Seized on May 7. Yemeni fishing boat seized off Yemen.
-- Seven Yemeni crew.
* MARIDA MARGUERITE: Seized on May 8. The chemical tanker en route from Kandla in Gujarat, India to Antwerp, Belgium was hijacked in Gulf of Aden.
-- 22 crew -- 19 Indians, two Bangladeshis, one Ukrainian.
* ELENI P: Seized on May 12. Liberia-flagged and Greek-owned ship, carrying iron and sailing from Ukraine to China via Singapore, was seized in Gulf of Aden.
-- 24 crew -- 2 Greeks and 22 Filipinos.
* MOTIVATOR: Seized on July 4. Marshall Islands-flagged 13,065-dwt tanker was hijacked in Red Sea.
-- 18 Filipino crew.
* SUEZ: Seized on Aug. 2. Panama-flagged cargo ship hijacked in the Internationally Recommended Transit Corridor (IRTC) in the Gulf of Aden. It was carrying cement bags.
-- 23 crew from Egypt, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and India.
* OLIB G: Seized on Sept. 8. Maltese-flagged merchant vessel seized in IRTC.
-- 18 crew -- 15 Georgians, three Turks.
* ASPHALT VENTURE: Seized on Sept. 29: The 3,884-dwt bitumen carrier was heading to Durban, South Africa from Mombasa, Kenya.
-- 15 Indian crew.
* GOLDEN WAVE: Seized on Oct. 9. South-Korean fishing vessel Golden Wave formerly known as Keummi 305.
-- 43 crew -- 39 Kenyans, two Koreans and two Chinese.
* IZUMI: Seized on Oct. 10. Operated by NYK-Hinode Line Ltd, the Panama-flagged ship was en route to Mombasa with cargo of steel.
-- 20 Filipino crew.
* YORK: Seized on Oct. 23: Singapore-flagged, Greek managed, LPG tanker was seized 50 miles from Mombasa. The 5,076-dwt York was sailing empty after discharging her LPG cargo at the Shimanzi oil terminal in Mombasa.
-- 17 crew -- a German master, two Ukrainians, 14 Filipinos.
* CHOIZIL: Seized on Oct. 26. South-African owned yacht was hijacked after leaving Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. European Union anti-piracy task force in the area, which included Dutch marine ship, rescued one South African from yacht but two other crew members were taken ashore as hostages.
* AL-NASSR: Seized October 28. Motorized dhow captured off Yemeni island of Socotra.
* POLAR: Seized on Oct 30: Liberian-owned Panama-flagged tanker 72,825 tonne tanker seized 580 miles (940 km) east of Socotra.
-- 24 crew -- one Romanian, three Greeks, four Montenegrins, 16 Filipinos.
* ALY ZULFECAR: Seized on Nov. 2. Comoran passenger boat was taken inside Tanzania's territorial waters.
-- Nine crew -- one Tanzanian, four Comorian, four Madagascar. Also 12 Tanzanian and 8 Comorian passengers.
* HANNIBAL II: Seized on Nov. 11. Panama-flagged chemical tanker was taken 860 miles east of Horn of Africa, considerably closer to India than to Somalia, EU Navfor said. The 24,105 tonne vessel was sailing to Suez from Malaysia carrying vegetable oil.
-- 31 crew -- 23 Tunisians, four Filipinos, a Croat, a Georgian, a Russian and a Moroccan.
* YUAN XIANG: Seized on Nov. 12. Chinese-owned general cargo ship, was captured off Oman.
-- 29 Chinese crew.
* ALBEDO: Seized on Nov. 26. Malaysian-owned cargo vessel was taken 900 miles off Somalia as it headed for Kenyan port city of Mombasa from Jebel Ali in United Arab Emirates.
-- 23 crew -- from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Iran.
* JAHAN MONI: Seized on Dec. 5. Merchant ship was taken in Somali Basin, around 1,300 miles east of Somalia, and only 300 miles from India. The ship was en route from Indonesia to Greece via Singapore carrying 43,000 tonnes of nickel ore.
-- 26 crew. Sources: Reuters/Ecoterra International/International Maritime Bureau Piracy Reporting Centre/Lloyds List/Inquirer.net/www.eunavfor.eu (Writing by David Cutler, London Editorial Reference Unit)
U.S. household wealth increased 2.2% during the third quarter as people cut debt and gained from rising stock prices, according to a report the Federal Reserve released Thursday.
Households' total net worth rose by $1.2 trillion to $54.9 trillion, according to the Fed, while households' outstanding nonfinancial debt fell at an annualized rate of 1.7%, marking the eighth straight quarterly decline.
The bulk of the increase came from rising stocks, which more than offset falling home prices. The Dow Jones Industrial Average and Nasdaq Composite advanced 10% and 12% during the quarter, respectively. In contrast, total real-estate holdings fell 2.1% from a year earlier to $18.3 trillion, according to the report.
Meanwhile, companies continued to boost their cash balances. All together, nonfinancial companies in the U.S. increased their cash total by 7.2% during the quarter to about $1.93 trillion, or about 7.4% of total assets, the Fed also said Thursday.
CMA CGM to launch Halifax-West Coast LatAm service
The world’s third-largest container line will launch a service Sunday connecting Halifax with Panama, Ecuador, Peru and Chile from the South End Container Terminal.
French line CMA CGM launched the Black Pearl service with its first call to the Halterm container terminal in February 2009, promising to stop at Halifax every 14 days.
Now it plans weekly and direct container service to the west coast of South America.
In a news release, Jean-Yves Duval, the company’s vice-president of Caribbean and Latin America lines, said the new calls will provide its customers with a direct and efficient transportation solution to support the development of the growing markets between Canada and the west coast of South America.
Iowa representatives are scheduled to go on a trade mission to China and Hong Kong to expand pork exports.
Representatives of the Department of Economic Development and Iowa's pork industry will leave this month with a goal of increasing pork exports to the region.
Department Director Bret Mills says China and Hong Kong have "enormous" potential as a trading partner for Iowa.
The trip is scheduled for Dec. 11-18. The delegation will meet with government officials, importers, food service and retail representatives to develop ties with companies and potential business partners.
The trip also includes stops in Beijing and Shanghai.
Louis J. "Lou" LoBianco, a highly acclaimed expert in the application of roll-on/roll-off cargo technology for the port of Baltimore, died Dec. 1 of cancer at Gilchrist Hospice Care.
The longtime Towson resident — who had lived in Mays Chapel since last year — was 68.
"Lou was one of the main reasons why the port of Baltimore is known today as the top roll-on/roll-off [ro/ro] port in the U.S.," said James J. White, executive director of the Maryland Port Administration.
"He had an extraordinary understanding and knowledge of the ro/ro industry and knew exactly what it took to convince ro/ro manufacturers to ship their cargo through Baltimore," said Mr. White.
Ms. Burman said when Mr. LoBianco retired, he was designated a maritime icon by the MPA because "people knew him from all over the world."
In addition to developing and expanding the port's roll-on/roll-off business, Mr. LoBianco was the "driving force behind our Ro/Ro Rodeo," said Mr. White.
"This allows newly hired longshore workers to learn how to drive huge pieces of farm and construction equipment on and off ships. Baltimore is the only port to have this event," he said.
In addition to his son, surviving are his wife of 42 years, the former Fran Anuszewski; another son, Matthew J. LoBianco of Towson; and a brother, Charles LoBianco of Towson.
It was September 2008 and a band of Somali pirates made a startling discovery.
But it turns out the pirates were telling the truth — and the Kenyans and Ukrainians were not, at least publicly. According to several secret State Department cables made public by WikiLeaks, the tanks not only were headed to southern Sudan, but they were the latest installment of several underground arms shipments.
By the time the freighter was seized, 67 T-72 tanks had already been delivered to bolster southern Sudan’s armed forces against the government in Khartoum, an international pariah for its human rights abuses in Darfur.